When Is The Contract Breached Let Us Explore
People often wonder if they should take action against another when a breach of contract occurs. The answer depends on the nature of the contract itself. If the contract is vague, then a breach may be tough to prove. If the contract is specific, then a breach will be easier to prove. A breach of contract can occur during both simple and complex transactions. First, let’s identify what a contract is and is not.
Common Breaches of Contract:
When any contract is made an agreement is formed between parties to carry out a service and payment for that service. If one of the parties fails to carry out their side of the agreement then the party can be said to be in breach of contract. Breach of contract can also occur if work carried out is defective or if one party makes the other aware that they will not be carrying out the agreed work.
Breaches of contract can also include non payment for a service or not paying on time, failure to deliver services or goods, and being late with services without a reasonable excuse. Terms and conditions are a fundamental part of a legally binding contract and any broken terms can lead to breach of contract.
Does A Valid Contract Exist?
In its purest form, a contract exists when there is an offer and an acceptance of that offer. If I offer to mow your lawn for ten dollars and you accept that offer, then we have a contract. Once I mow your lawn, you are obligated to pay me ten dollars. Does the law require the contract to be in writing to be legal? Not in this example. Most oral contracts are legally binding but can be difficult to prove later on. But some state laws, known as a Statute of Frauds, require certain contracts to be in writing, such as contracts dealing with real property.
For example, if person A is offering to person B to mow your lawn for ten dollars and person B don’t say anything; this is not a contract because person B didn’t accept. What if person A offer to mow person B lawn as a return favor for having picked up person B mail the previous week? Again, there is no enforceable contract. Rather, these are simply kind acts, or gifts, by two neighbors. The biggest mistake most people make is the failure to get the specifics of a contract set forth.
A contract should state clearly what each party is going to do and when he or she is going to do it. It’s always best to establish this in writing even though an oral contract can be legally binding.
When a Contract Breach Occurs After a Failure to Perform
A breach of contract can occur when a party fails to perform an obligation that resulted from a valid offer and acceptance. Disputes often arise regarding whether the contract was valid, the quality of the performance, whether certain conditions were required before the obligation existed, and other factors that may relieve one party from performing their obligations. These situations are discussed below.
A contract may be invalid or even illegal for many reasons. A person under the age of eighteen may not enter into a binding contract, so any such contract is invalid and unenforceable. Other contracts may require a party to perform an illegal act and such a contract would also be invalid and unenforceable.
One party may be unhappy with the quality of the other party’s performance and try to hold him accountable for a breach of the contract. What is known as a condition precedent means that something needed to happen before one of the parties was required to perform his or her obligation.
Not all breaches of contract are necessarily “contract killers” which can end up in a lawsuit. Much of the outcome depends on whether the breach is material or immaterial and who the parties are. If the breach is immaterial, you may have the option to: ignore or excuse the defect and continue on as if nothing occurred; point out the problem to the responsible side and give him or her an opportunity to fix it; refuse to pay anything more until it is fixed; or correct the work yourself and deduct the cost from any payment. When a breach of contract occurs, your best option will depend on the facts. Where the matter is substantial, the advice of a contract attorney can help you.
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